MAYWOOD, Ill., Sept. 5 (UPI) — Nearly half of recreational runners may be drinking too much fluid during races, a survey of U.S. runners found.
First author Dr. James Winger, a sports medicine physician at Loyola University Health System, said the study found 36.5 percent of runners drank following a preset schedule or to maintain a certain body weight and 8.9 percent drank as much as possible.
In addition, 29.6 percent of runners incorrectly believe they need to ingest extra salt while running and more than 57 percent said they drink sports drinks because the drinks have electrolytes that prevent low blood sodium.
In fact, the main cause of low sodium in runners is drinking too much water or sports drinks, Winger said.
“Many athletes hold unscientific views regarding the benefits of different hydration practices,” researchers said in a statement.
Drinking too much fluid while running can cause exercise-associated hyponatremia, a potentially fatal condition that occurs when runners drink even while they are not thirsty, Winger said.
Drinking too much during exercise can dilute the sodium content of blood to abnormally low levels, Winger warned.
The study was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.